Diabetes Health Resources

Q&A Lessons

What are the symptoms of diabetes and prediabetes?

The earlier you detect diabetes, the better your chance of avoiding complications.

Signs of type 1 diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and irritability

Signs of type 2 diabetes:

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections

Concerned? Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor.

How do I prevent diabetes?

You can take steps to help prevent the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. At the top of the list are getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, which will help you achieve or maintain a trim, healthy weight:

  • Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day, such as walking, biking or swimming. You can even make hobbies or chores work to your advantage—sweep the deck, dust your bookshelves and re-shelve the books, or take up folk dancing.
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. Select a colorful array so that you’re sure to get a mix of nutrients and vitamins. Your diet should be high in whole grains and include fish several times a week. Choose lean meats and non-fat dairy products. Use cooking oils that are low in saturated and trans fats.
    You might also talk with your doctor about maintaining or achieving a low blood pressure.

Concerned? Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor.

Am I at risk?

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teens or young adults. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in adults. Here are some risk factors for type 2 diabetes:

  • Older than 45
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Overweight
  • Certain races/ethnicities
  • Infrequent, irregular physical activity
  • For women—history of diabetes during pregnancy

Concerned? Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions: What Do I Do If…

I see that my blood sugars are steadily going up?

  1. Check your blood sugar diary to see what your patterns are. Are your blood sugars higher at one time of the day than at other times? (Not sure how to track this? See number 3, below) If you can think of a reason for a particularly high blood sugar level (such as illness, splurging on food, decreased exercise), then just go back to a healthy diet and exercise plan. The blood sugars should return to an acceptable value but keep monitoring your blood sugars.
  2. If you can think of no reason for your blood sugars being high, check with your doctor to consider an increase or change in medication. It is best that you address this issue within two to three weeks because the goal is to prevent complications from the effects of high blood sugar.
  3. Make sure to maintain your blood sugar diary every day—information is your best tool to keep blood sugars under control! Check your blood sugar at least ONCE daily, and enter the time and blood sugar level in your blood sugar diary. Also, vary the times of day you check to notice patterns around your meals.For example: On Monday, you might check during morning fasting. On Tuesday, you might check two hours after lunch. On Wednesday, before dinner. On Thursday, at bedtime.Remember to record the time of day in your diary, along with the measurement.
  4. Always bring your blood sugar diary with you to appointments. This information helps your doctor understand how you’re doing and if necessary, to make changes based on good information.

Still have questions? Call us at 1-888-4-PACMED, 888-472-2633 or call your primary care doctor.

I have low blood sugars?

Important: If you are experiencing low blood sugar right now and don’t know what to do, call 911. If you are suddenly experiencing symptoms such as confusion or lightheadedness or feel like you may faint and don’t know what to do, call 911.

If able, check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is under 70, follow the “rule of 15″—consume 15 grams of carbohydrate, wait 15 minutes and recheck. Like this:

  1. Take 15 grams of carbohydrate. For example (choose one):
    • 3–4 crackers
    • 2 tablespoons of raisins
    • 1 tube of Cake Mate decorator gel (0.68 ounces)
    • 4–6 ounces fruit juice
    • 4–6 ounces regular soda
    • 3–4 glucose tablets
  2. Wait 15 minutes.
  3. Recheck blood sugar. It should be above 80 mg/dL.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 if blood sugar has not increased. Note: If your blood sugar increases and returns to normal after one or two treatments AND it will be more than 30 minutes until your next meal, eat a snack that contains protein and carbohydrate (such as half of a turkey sandwich).
  5. If you have tried two treatments with carbohydrates and your blood sugar is not above 80 mg/dL, call your doctor or 911.

Important: If someone is unconscious from low blood sugar, DO NOT attempt to give him or her anything to eat or drink (this could put the person at risk for choking); rather, you should call 911 immediately and administer glucagon if you have been instructed to do so.

Low blood sugar is caused by too little food (skipping a meal), too much insulin or diabetes medication, or increased exercise. Often, it is a combination of all three, especially if you are setting new goals.

Low blood sugar, which is also called hypoglycemia, can occur very quickly. If your blood sugars are low, you may feel dizzy, shaky, irritable or tired. You also may feel sweaty or notice blurred vision, a fast heartbeat or a headache.

The dangers of untreated low blood sugar include loss of consciousness, seizures and death.

If you have more than one low blood sugar in a week that you cannot explain, contact your doctor:

  1. Your best bet is to contact or visit your doctor. If you have made some positive changes in your diet and exercise routine, you may need less diabetes medication.
  2. When you visit your doctor, bring your blood sugar diary. Your doctor may consider changes in medication that will keep you at your blood sugar goal (a blood sugar between 80–150 and HgbA1c below 7.0).
  3. Always carry glucose tablets or hard candies with you in the event of a hypoglycemic incident.

Still have questions? Call us at 1-888-4-PACMED, 888-472-2633 or call your primary care doctor.

Want to prevent low blood sugar?

  • Eat at regular times; don’t skip meals.
  • Only drink alcohol with food.
  • Take medicine as prescribed.
  • Eat accordingly before or after you exercise.
  • Keep a blood sugar diary so you can see patterns or trends.
  • Always carry glucose tablets or a quick source of carbohydrates such as peanut butter crackers.
  • Wear easy-to-see identification that shows you have diabetes.
  • If you take insulin, ask your doctor about having glucagon on hand to treat low blood sugar emergencies.

Still have questions? Call us at 1-888-4-PACMED, 888-472-2633 or call your primary care doctor.

Other Resources